Appalachian Patria

Appalachian Intellectual. To me that means plain thinking. I am A Non Commissioned Officer in the Army Reserves. Let me say...My views expressed here are mine and not those of The U.S. Army, Army Reserve or my fellow brethren in The National Guard. This is entirely Sua Sponte. This is My Thinking. I'm single and in my mid 30's. Politicaly, I'm a Libertarian. (Again, Sua Sponte.I do not represent the Libertarian Party.)I love my native Appalachia, Rock n Roll and...I love God.

Location: Brevard, North Caroilina

I started blogging for two reasons. I was concerned about the changes to the area I live in, Southern Appalachia and I was about to go to the war. I was in Iraq in 06 and 07 and now Kuwait in 11 and 12. Blogging was a means of documenting my experiences and hoping it would help gain clarity. I don't feel that way about it any more. It's said people write blogs because they are frustrated, that's why people read them too. That makes us sound apocalyptic. Are we? Let it be said, what I say here is of my own thinking. This is entirely Sua Sponte and not an official representation of the U.S. Military or the U.S. Government as a whole.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

It Ain't All Bad

“Stroll you bones and sow your oats…yeah, love your friends and tell them jokes”

No it aint. Other than the initial hellos when I got in, the first order of business was to buy a new to me truck. My old one had had it. So, Saturday at noon time I was the proud owner of a new to me truck…A 92 Toyota pick up with a V6, 5spd, 4WD. It’s a solid truck mechanically. There’s some body damage, but no biggie. The first thing I found myself doing was driving it to Franklin. I had gotten an E-mail from Twister saying that his Grandmother had died. The Woman was a Saint and, to say the least he was passionately loyal to her. The sweet lady’s health had suffered over the last year and the good Lord has relieved her of it.

Sunday I dropped in on the Jolly Red Head Giant. I believe he is tempted to go bear Hunting with me, Twister and his crew over yonner while I’m in.

Of course I’m filled with questions about Iraq. I give more blunt and detailed answers to the Jolly Red Head Giant and Twister. I believe that people need a good understanding of what’s taking place. But once in a while it’s a little tiring.

The house has grown on me. I’ve gotten over that.

I’ve only gone Hunting twice. Last year I handed twister a live squirrel. This year I poured coffee down his sleeve. He was driving, wanted me to pour him some coffee and hit a bump.

We’ve had two races go on. A race is when the dogs are in pursuit of something. Some heathens just can’t figure that out. The first one we let two dogs loose on a scent, could never find a trail couldn’t hear the dogs for a while…then, one howl. We couldn’t get a reading on the tracking collars so we took the rest of the dogs back to the trucks. Twister and another fellar went down the mountain and me and another went down to pick them up. Some Loggers and Forest Rangers said they heard them tree, but at the end of the day we picked them up down on another side of the Mountain.

Wednesday we had another going on. Me and Twister stayed in one spot for three hours, thought we had a race, turned up to be a rambling straggling hound. Then they were on something later. Run up the Mountain…they’re coming!...No…None of us can hear anything. Without a radio the two of us left and we were out of it.

The next couple of days have been tend to business days when I accomplished little.

Me and Twister fell into a conversation much like many we’ve had about Strategy and Theory. It came around in circle to exploiting success. You don’t throw all of your effort into what’s not producing, You put it into what is working well, all else follows. This goes for everything.

Exploit Success…

The Appalachianist

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Home Sweet...Um Something...

One Blackhawk ride, four shuttle busses, two chartered busses, one ride hitched with a Security Contractor in an Armored F350, one blue Japanese Air Force C-130, one chartered 757, one commuter plane and a ride in the Reguvinatormobile with a whole lot of hurry up and wait and plain old hassle in between and I’m back in Buttholeville.

In Atlanta I was spoke to rudely along with my fellow service members because we were unsure of the procedure for reentering the Country that Politicians say we’re defending. Welcome Home, now empty you’re fucking pockets.

Forget that we had to completely empty our bags in front of Navy Customs in Kuwait.

I’ve got maybe four tooth brushes back in Taji, but, not a one here. After emptying my bags in Kuwait, I know I put my shaving kit back in my D-Bag. It wasn’t there last night.

Buttholeville, yes, I’ve had people “thank” me, which I don’t feel is necessary, but, I had a fancy convertible with Floridiot plates attempt to pull around me as I waited for someone to clear the turn I was going to make. I waived them around thinking they were going straight only to have them whip into the turn I was going to make as the other car cleared it. Welcome Home.

At the Phone Company I had to patiently wait while the nice young lady explained in Spanish to what was most likely an illegal alien about their phone not yet being hooked up. They were first and that’s fair enough. But, that’s modern irony in Eroding Appalachia. Welcome Home.

I sat in the Asheville Airport looking at an advertisement for Bear Lake. Bear Lake is a reservoir over in Jackson County that is surrounded by allot of wild land. It’s now being parceled up by a developer. Welcome Home.

Now relations with my family are strained. It’s 0420 Saturday morning. I’ve been up since 0300. My house is not the same place. I gave my Mother a key so she could look in on the place once and a while. Even though my trustworthy former Father In Law living right next to me has a key. My Brother who is my Power Of Attorney and the whole deal lives down near Birmingham Alabama. It’s not covenant for him. But, most of all I gave it to her to keep her from feeling left out. I told her to just look in on the place, change out the moisture bags, etc. I had pretty much boxed everything up. My Mother came up here and rearranged the house, brought in new furniture, took my stuff and put it all through the house. My reloading gear was left between two bed rooms, She took all of my uniforms and put them on the other side of the house. My Rucksack in one closet, my Cold Weather Bag which I left in a stuff sack was in my bed room closet taken apart. I can’t find the stuff sack. Nothing is in the same place in my kitchen. I open droors and find odd things. I felt something at the edge of my bed when I got up. It was a plastic container. I looked underneath, but, the one I had left was not there. There was a collector issue Playboy in it. Where’s my 13 Star American Flag? She came here, against my will and made the place the way she wanted it. What she didn’t understand she stuck off in some odd place. Heck, it almost looks like I have a wife again, the only thing I would ask of her is to leave my stuff intact. I love her and now I have to forgive her.

Bosco just looked at me and walked away in her dubious manner.

My Stepsons Girl Friend had miscarried this summer, now she’s two months pregnant.

One of the Waitress’s down at the diner paid my bill against my will. I argued with her. She argued back. She said since I wouldn’t let them send me stuff she was going to do it anyway. It’s funny, at one time I mistaked her for being single only to find out she’s married. She’s always treated me the same though.

When I left here back in April it was cloudy. The Mountains disappeared into the clouds. This time the Mountains appeared out of them. They were pretty from the air. They were prettier down in them. The seasons were changing again. It’s almost like a circle. I flew off to the north, flew in from the south.

Despite it all, it’s kind of nice to be here. I don’t like to talk about such things as family affairs. But, some of you come here because you want to know what the War is like. The truth is I can’t describe it to you. But, maybe this small part gives you an idea.

Today your love tomorrow the world…

The Appalachianist

Friday, October 13, 2006

The mud has arrived

“Stay calm. The FLN will avenge you. Stay Calm “.
From the Battle of Algiers

The word “Tribal” to young Americans means gothic tattoos, meaningless designs in the pursuit of vanity. Tribal betrays their vain attempt at individualism. It’s an association with disassociation.

I can understand tribalism. It’s a fascinating part of my ancestry to me. Individualism in the tribe is warrior hood, where, honor was everything. Tattoos were earned with War Names in that culture. Actions were to be in the interest of the tribe. Even individual acts of “Heroism” were to give honor to the tribe…”Don’t mess with us, we’re fierce”.

I’ve enquired to my Iraqi friends about tribes. Some, respond eagerly, they are happy that you show interest in their culture. Some enquiries are met with a little coldness. One of my interpreters flat out told me he didn’t associate with his tribe. “I hate tribal.” Sheiks here are the ones in control, at least in some ways. The violence will take all of their effort to quell. One Jihad against the other.

Americans see the world as states. But, it’s not all states. It’s becoming allot of statelessness. This article triggered me on this subject. I've lost the mood to articulate on this subject as I peiced this post together over a few days, but, I can agree with much of it.

It has sprinkled some more. last night there has been lightning with a little thunder. More lightning than anything. A strong gust of wind came and tore down an old tent I had put up with some others as a canopy. We were going to take it down anyway. Everything is a muddy mess this morning.

Tonight I had a chance to see some of the guys from my unit back home that were called up later. I’m in CMATT, Coalition Military Assistance Transition Team. These boys are going to MTT Teams, they will be directly advising Iraqi Military Combat Units. I’m technically on a MTT, but, we’re not considered one by the higher. They are at the Phoenix Academy, what I consider to be somewhat of a dog and pony show. So does the rest of Taji and CMATT. My next time in Iraq, I’ll probably be on a MTT. It's funny, they fall under 1st Infantry Division and I fall under Multi National Security Transition Command- Iraq(MNSTC-I, prounounced Mensticky) comes the heckling from the ladies...

I told them that they have not had enough language and culture training. I told them what shway shway means and their getting ready to learn.

The Appalachianist

I just havn'y gotten a post together yet. But, I am peicing one together.

I'm a week away from being home on leave and it feels so strange. I'm not reallly sure I'm ready to come home yet. But, It will be good to see the place.

The Appalachianist

Saturday, October 07, 2006

It Rained!!!

Rain! Our crops are saved!

Today we saw our first rain. There were dark scattered clouds at sunlight and at 0748 a strong wind blew throwing dust into the air. Then for five minutes it sprinkled almost enough to cover the ground. Allot of us stood out in it. It was brief but pretty. Then it cleared and a dusty haze has settled. It felt more noticeably humid too.

We’re Expanding

My section has grown. We picked up an E-6 from one of the ware house operations and a Lieutenant from the Marine Corps. He’s an Infantry Officer on his second tour. We are the only operation that is 24/7 on the Depot and the most multi serviced, hence the most multi cultural. There are different cultures within the Military. Our specialties range from two Air Force MP’s, a Marine Infantryman, an Army Infantryman (myself), two Finance guy’s and three Supply Guy’s. We hail from Wisconsin, Texas, Colorado, South Carolina, Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Georgia, Alabama, and myself the Western North Carolina Hill Billy. We’ve pulled together tighter, we’re getting along a little better. We might as well, this is Iraq and we’re “stuck like Chuck”.

Of course everything is not all gravy. We have some room for improvement. Some of my guy’s need to be a little more involved, there is some better potential inside everyone.

That reminds me. I’m going to have to give a lecture to them. Someone logged onto the “Adam and Eve” web site on our Office Computer. That site is a little border line for a Government Computer. I wonder what they ordered.

The Land of Nod

There were upper level clouds all day today. It’s cooler, with highs in the mid 90’s. The ground is wet in places in the mornings. The water comes up from the ground. Remember, from the book of Genesis, the Lord replenished the Earth from the ground up until he had Noah build the Ark. I think of that when I see it. I debate in my mind if this was the Garden of Eden. Throw stones at me, but, I feel like Eden was west of here. The wet clay sticks to everything and doesn’t dry out until evening. Then it starts all over again. Twenty feet away it will be dry and dusty. A sage of sorts grows everywhere in clumps and bushes called Terpa’s about head high are scattered about. They are both pale green.

It’s not easy being a Nerd

I about got mad. About, mind you. My camcorder was all out of focus. I would zoom and it would be blurry. Finally I read the instructions and come to find out the manual focus was off. I carry it around and more than likely when I was visiting a guard tower or something it got bumped on when other things were bumped and it got all messed up. Anyhow, I discovered it was out of focus while trying to get some white crane like birds flocking just out side of our parameter. I was out getting wooden ammo crates to put up in the towers. Some Jundi’s aren’t as tall as others and a step would help if they had to return fire. I got cases that had once contained 90mm Smoke Rounds made in Brazil. I knew they had a decent fire arms industry, it makes sense. I wonder if the Iraqis had 90mm Recoilless Rifles.

Come to mention the 90’…

The 90mm Recoilless Rifle was one great implementation. It was a simple design. You could take some flichette rounds and clear out some jungle, rooms (if shot from the outside), or an avenue of approach. It held well against armor with HE. Back in the day when I was in the 75th, we were the only ones left using it. Why not? It was one fine weapon. But the Army decided it had to go. Ammo wasn’t available. We should have swallowed our pride and bought it from the Brazilians.

I’m sure it’s not too late. I’m sure within the depths of Anniston Army Depot the 90’ can still be found. If something as simple as an RPG can cause such a stir, then why not the equally as simple Recoilless Rifle? Fighting economically is fighting smarter.

My Apologies

This post has been put together on Word over several days. As I write this we are in Communications Blackout. I’m yet to learn exactly why. When I first got here in June we were in Blackout twice a month. It’s now coming twice a week. I’m behind on mailing folks. I can use the office computer to check my mail, but eight of us use that computer and the Iraqi’s have been cutting the generator at certain times…some earlier than others…in a vain attempt to conserve fuel. I find myself responding to who ever is on top of my list. You know who you are, I’m sorry I haven’t gotten a note off to you.

Do you want a little taste of my day?

Today I had to juggle Escort, Personal Security Detail (PSD) NCOIC duties and Advising. I pulled PSD for the Commander of Anniston Army Depot (I wrote the 90 part before I did the PSD, which was on short notice) I have a mind to ask him about the 90’when I do it again tomorrow, Insalla. At the same location where I did the PSD, along with one of my guy’s from Birmingham Alabama…not to leave anyone out…We have two Jundis guarding Barracks so another Iraqi unit won’t move into them. One, a likable, straight forward, hard working Jundi, saw me and came to me. “Mishkala”…Problem. Neither of these guy’s had water. I relayed it to one of the trusted Warrant Officers…Without an interpreter. “No problem”. Later after taking up some slack on escort I went back to see if the two had water. “Maku”…A negative answer. So, I had an interpreter tell another Warrant Officer…”OK”. So, later as I waited to do PSD for the Colonel and DA Civilians for an hour and a half before they e-mailed my Commander that they weren’t coming (it was a communications mixup, the Col. apologised), the two Jundis didn’t have water still. Finally a UAZ Jeep pulled in just before dark. It’s Ramadan. They weren’t going to give them water until dark because of Ramadan. They use water to wipe their ass; these kids couldn’t even wipe their ass. They were going to make them obey Ramadan.

You’ve gotta…

The guy from Birmingham borrowed some water off of a civilian contractor. It read on the label…”healthy water treated with ozone”. I love this country.

The haze is going to interfere with Night Vision tonight. This is the weather where someone could try to break into the Depot. My stuff is close.

Last note, the Blackout lasted five days.

Semper Vigilans

The Appalachianist

Friday, October 06, 2006

I'm still in exsistance.
The Appalachianist